FEA recently held the first CFSP seminar since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, mixing remote learning with the usual exam session.
The 10 delegates took part in two half day zoom tutorials and then assembled for the socially-distanced exam, which took place at the First Choice Group training centre in Cannock. And the ‘new normal’ learning worked, as all 10 passed with flying colours.
FEA consultant Doug Fryett led the remote sessions from his office in Shreveport, Louisiana, which is about 185 miles due east of Dallas, Texas, but 4,533 miles away from Cannock, as the crow flies.
He commented: “There was a 6-hour time difference but the biggest challenge was making sure the technology worked – which it did, really well.”
Pre-lockdown, delegates would spend two days at a CFSP seminar, a full day tutorial followed by the half day exam. “Splitting it into two half day tutorials worked very well – it’s actually an advantage, as we don’t have to cram so much into one day,” said Fryett.
“The downside is that with zoom there’s less personal interaction, of course. But overall I’d say it was a great experience for me and the students. I’ll certainly be applying what we learned to future presentations.”
In order to ensure the integrity of the CFSP programme, the exam papers arrived in a sealed, signed envelope which was filmed as it was opened at the time of the exam. Then, at the end of the exam session, all the papers were placed in another sealed and signed envelope, which was dispatched to Fryett for marking.
FEA’s events and membership manager, Jocelyn Carr, organised the seminar. She said: “Having the course online allows the delegates to be very focused, unless of course a child or dog comes into their room!
“The downside to an online seminar is the lack of comradery with the other delegates. Revising together with a drink in the evening before the exam is always a highlight for them.
“I’d like to thank First Choice Group, who did a great job to ensure their premises were safe, clean and ready for the delegates to sit the exam in person.”
As well as achieving a 100% pass rate, feedback for the virtual seminar from the delegates was positive. Brendan Daly, global service manager of Welbilt, said: “The online training really helped me. I had a bit of information overload from reading the CFSP book and the online sessions were a great refresher to get me ready for the exam.”
The next CFSP course takes place on 9-10 December at the Smeg UK headquarters in Abingdon.